Our Assistance is as Transnational as Their Capital
Peace Camp elements were involved in the recent set-up of a Protection Camp at Upton-by-Chester, helping secure a prospective drill site against Coal Bed Methane (CBM) exploitation. Future events such as these will affect us all in the future, as they say, so here is the story so far.
Outstanding in a field
In response to a call on the red site phone, FPC arrived at the Welsh border to be appraised of the situation. Drilling company Dart Energy intended to wreak proto-fracking havoc on a dairy farm close to the Chester suburb of Upton, potentially releasing heavy greenhouse gases and poisoning the groundwater within a few hundred metres of a housing estate, a zoo, and several schools, and threatening seismic activity within visible distance of a gas-fired power station. A team comprising unhappy locals, veterans of the Barton Moss campaign, and FPC rolled on to the field in question in a moonlit raid to make sure it didn’t happen.
Having thrown up fences, tents, and Section-6-squatting-advice notices, campers endured a miserably wet dawn before being revitalised by the arrival of supporters and police at the same time. Happily, the site’s perimeter was respected by the local cops, and we were able to welcome everyone else in due course.
You can eat principles
With concordance established, the camp was widened by a literal field kitchen even as an assembly determined the projected trajectory of its future as a community space. Both were enhanced by the arrival of an eco-stove purchased by local subscription, along with sufficient supplies of food and water to maintain an insurrectionary march on London.
Having opted to postpone this for now, campers set about facilities with extreme prejudice, making things comfortable and sustainable for now and the future. Upton now boasts kitchen, toilets, washroom, communal shelters, fireplaces, a huge A-frame tent and PA system, a complex and interdependent tripod-and-bipod arrangement to protect the front gate, and an intrepid treehouse overlooking it all.
She’s a model, and she’s looking good
And… that’s about it. Setting up the camp appears to have frightened off the frackers for the foreseeable, and a continued presence is being encouraged by solidarity with other sites and a programme of events, including workshops given by revisiting Peace Campers.
What’s particularly interesting is that this camp is the first ever pre-emptive occupation of a drill site, and the hope is that it sets a model for future action. With ongoing attention, Chester residents can ensure that their locality not be besmirched by coal-bed cowboys. This tactic may have contributed to the recent fire-sale purchase of the drillers Dart by Barton Moss offenders IGas. Once these shell companies have all been rolled-up and investors suddenly face the consequences of their actions, we’ll be well on the way to a true victory of the masses against the classes.
For more information about the Upton site, consult the Frack-Free Upton page.
Update: in an embarassing solidarity failure, this post didn’t include this video of Will’s amazing Daneshill rig action. Here it is now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngmh5rBQjQM